Sore Throat

A sore throat is pain, scratchiness or irritation of the throat that often worsens when you swallow. The most common cause of a sore throat (pharyngitis) is a viral infection, such as a cold or the flu. A sore throat caused by a virus resolves on its own. 


  • scratchy
  • burning
  • raw
  • dry
  • tender
  • irritated

Along with the sore throat, you can have symptoms like:

  • nasal congestion
  • runny nose
  • sneezing
  • cough
  • fever
  • chills
  • swollen glands in the neck
  • hoarse voice
  • body aches
  • headache
  • trouble swallowing
  • appetite loss

It may hurt more when you swallow or talk. Your throat or tonsils might also look red.


Viral illnesses that cause a sore throat include:

  • Common cold
  • Flu (influenza)
  • Mononucleosis (mono)
  • Measles
  • Chickenpox
  • Croup — a common childhood illness characterized by a harsh, barking cough
  • A number of bacterial infections can cause a sore throat. The most common is Streptococcus pyogenes, or group A streptococcus, which causes strep throat.

Other causes include:  

  • Irritants
  • Allergies
  • Muscle strains
  • Dryness
  • Gastroesophageal Reflex Disease (GERD)
  • HIV Infections
  • Tumors